E.g., 04/22/2024
E.g., 04/22/2024
Smuggling & Trafficking

Smuggling & Trafficking

_Trafficking

Smugglers and traffickers—of human beings as well as illicit drugs and other contraband—are among the “bad actors” who facilitate and profit from illegality. As governments around the world make increasing investments in immigration controls, there is a growing demand for ever more sophisticated and creative means to circumvent border controls. The research here focuses on the roles played by trafficking and smuggling organizations, the repercusssions of their activities, and the exploitation and abuse of individual migrants and trafficked persons.

Recent Activity

A woman crying in her room.
Cover image for Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Reports
January 2024
By  Alan D. Bersin, Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh
Migrantes en la aldea de Canaán Membrillo, en el Tapón del Darién, Panamá.
Migrants in the Darien Gap village of Canaan Membrillo, Panama.
Articles
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a conference in Tampa.
Articles
Cover image for Migration Narratives in Northern Central America
Reports
June 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, Alejandra Lopez and Alejandro Vélez Salas

Pages

Cover image for Migration at the U.S.-Mexico Border
Reports
January 2024
By  Alan D. Bersin, Nate Bruggeman and Ben Rohrbaugh
Cover image for Migration Narratives in Northern Central America
Reports
June 2023
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Natalia Banulescu-Bogdan, Aaron Clark-Ginsberg, Alejandra Lopez and Alejandro Vélez Salas
Cover image for COVID-19 and the State of Global Mobility in 2021
Reports
May 2022
By  Meghan Benton, Samuel Davidoff-Gore, Jeanne Batalova, Lawrence Huang and Jie Zong
Cover image for Migración de Huehuetenango en el Altiplano Occidental de Guatemala
Reports
March 2022
By  Andrew Selee, Luis Argueta and Juan José Hurtado Paz y Paz
Cover image for Migration from Huehuetenango in Guatemala’s Western Highlands
Reports
March 2022
By  Andrew Selee, Luis Argueta and Juan José Hurtado Paz y Paz
Cover image for The Complex Motivations and Costs of Central American Migration
Reports
November 2021
By  Ariel G. Ruiz Soto, Rossella Bottone, Jaret Waters, Sarah Williams, Ashley Louie and Yuehan Wang

Pages

A woman crying in her room.

An unknown number of women and girls from Southeast Asia have gone to China to marry Chinese men. Many go voluntarily, hoping for a better quality of life for themselves and their families. But some are deceived into their situation and are victims of human trafficking. This article takes a look at the phenomenon of marriage migration spurred by China's gender imbalance.

Migrantes en la aldea de Canaán Membrillo, en el Tapón del Darién, Panamá.

El paso por el Tapón del Darién ha transformado la migración en las Américas. Cada día, más de 1.000 personas cruzan lo que no hace mucho era un tramo de selva poco transitado entre Colombia y Panamá, la mayoría con la esperanza de llegar a Estados Unidos o Canadá. Es un viaje increíblemente arriesgado. Los gobiernos se han esforzado por responder al creciente movimiento, que se espera que supere los 500.000 cruces en 2023.

Migrants in the Darien Gap village of Canaan Membrillo, Panama.

Passage through the Darien Gap has transformed migration across the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the incredibly perilous journey across the remote jungle between Colombia and Panama, risking exposure to hazardous terrain, criminal groups, and other dangers. As this article outlines, governments have struggled to respond to the growing movement, expected to top 500,000 crossings in 2023.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at a conference in Tampa.

Renewed U.S. state activism on immigration has echoes of the early 2010s, when Arizona’s SB 1070 defined a Republican-led push to increase enforcement that was ultimately muted by the courts and public backlash. Newer strategies rely on a novel array of tactics including migrant busing, litigation, and lawmaking. States are also moving in opposite directions, with some expanding rights for unauthorized immigrants, as this article details.

An abandoned shoe lies in the mud along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The United States entered a new era with the end of the pandemic-era Title 42 expulsions policy. The government’s hopes of maintaining order at the U.S.-Mexico border post-Title 42 may be complicated by factors including authorities’ limited capacity, ongoing litigation, and cooperation from other countries. This article reviews the Biden administration's changing border policies and possible challenges ahead.

Pages

MigrantCaravanMXCity2018_Wotancito_WikiCommons
Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
MigrantsTijuanaRiverBed_BBCWorldService2014
Commentaries
July 2019
By  Andrew Selee, Silvia E. Giorguli-Saucedo, Claudia Masferrer and Ariel G. Ruiz Soto
BorderWall CBP ManiAlbrecht
Commentaries
January 2019
By  Doris Meissner and Sarah Pierce
_TunisiaCamp
Commentaries
February 2017
By  Elizabeth Collett
Boat SteveEvans Flickr
Commentaries
March 2016
By  Elizabeth Collett
Commentaries
September 2015
By  Elizabeth Collett

Pages

Explainer IllegalImmigration Art
Explainers
April 2019

How has the size of the unauthorized population in the United States changed over time? How is illegal immigration changing, and where do unauthorized immigrants come from? This explainer answers basic questions about illegal immigration, the changing patterns from Mexico, and more.

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 27, 2023

Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff talks about the security implications of climate change and migration in this episode of the podcast Changing Climate, Changing Migration.

2023 Immigration Law and Policy Conference
Video
September 18, 2023

The 20th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by MPI, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center, features fresh, thoughtful policy and legal analysis, and discussion of some of the top immigration issues by leading government officials, attorneys, researchers, advocates, and other experts. 

Attorney General William Tong
Video
September 20, 2022

Focusing on top immigration policy issues at federal and state levels, this 2022 Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured keynotes by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson exploring the growing role states are taking in the national immigration debate.

Seeking the US border, many Central American migrants begin their journey in Mexico on 'La Bestia'
Video, Audio
May 24, 2022

Con motivo de la publicación de un informe del Instituto de Política Migratoria sobre posibles vías de protección para las personas centroamericanas, este webcast ofrece un análisis sobre las vías humanitarias y de reasentamiento que ya se utilizan en la región así como las oportunidades y los obstáculos para expandir estos programas. 

Video, Audio
September 27, 2021

The 2021 annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference featured a keynote conversation with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and analysis by top experts on the early months of the Biden administration and how immigration law and policy can respond to our changing world in a manner that is humane and in the national interest.

Pages

Recent Activity

Articles

An unknown number of women and girls from Southeast Asia have gone to China to marry Chinese men. Many go voluntarily, hoping for a better quality of life for themselves and their families. But some are deceived into their situation and are victims of human trafficking. This article takes a look at the phenomenon of marriage migration spurred by China's gender imbalance.

Reports
January 2024

Unauthorized migration at the U.S.-Mexico border has been a high-profile and politically divisive issue for decades. But as the nature of migration at the border has changed profoundly, U.S. policy responses have struggled to keep up. This report explores the changing nature of migration flows and migration policy at the border from the early 1990s until today, highlighting key lessons for contemporary policy-making.

Expert Q&A, Audio
October 27, 2023

Former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff talks about the security implications of climate change and migration in this episode of the podcast Changing Climate, Changing Migration.

Video
September 18, 2023

The 20th annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference, organized by MPI, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center, features fresh, thoughtful policy and legal analysis, and discussion of some of the top immigration issues by leading government officials, attorneys, researchers, advocates, and other experts. 

Articles

El paso por el Tapón del Darién ha transformado la migración en las Américas. Cada día, más de 1.000 personas cruzan lo que no hace mucho era un tramo de selva poco transitado entre Colombia y Panamá, la mayoría con la esperanza de llegar a Estados Unidos o Canadá. Es un viaje increíblemente arriesgado. Los gobiernos se han esforzado por responder al creciente movimiento, que se espera que supere los 500.000 cruces en 2023.

Articles

Passage through the Darien Gap has transformed migration across the Americas. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken the incredibly perilous journey across the remote jungle between Colombia and Panama, risking exposure to hazardous terrain, criminal groups, and other dangers. As this article outlines, governments have struggled to respond to the growing movement, expected to top 500,000 crossings in 2023.

Articles

Renewed U.S. state activism on immigration has echoes of the early 2010s, when Arizona’s SB 1070 defined a Republican-led push to increase enforcement that was ultimately muted by the courts and public backlash. Newer strategies rely on a novel array of tactics including migrant busing, litigation, and lawmaking. States are also moving in opposite directions, with some expanding rights for unauthorized immigrants, as this article details.

Reports
June 2023

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have long histories of emigration, but are seeing increasing transit and return migration as well. This report explores the stories told within these three countries about migration in all its forms, how these narratives intersect with (and at times, contradict) each other, and how they influence policy decisions and public opinion.

Pages